Despite the atrocious injuries suffered by some of the animals, the farms were endorsed by a supplier linked with some of Britain’s top luxury brands.
Investigators say they found “deplorable conditions and distressing animal suffering” at two centres in Finland certified by fur industry chiefs as “high welfare”.
Fur farming confines animals for all their lives before they are harvested for the coat on their back – mink are killed by gassing and foxes and raccoon dogs are killed by anal electrocution.
Veterinary professor, Alastair MacMillan said it ‘shows the toll that the continued isolation and confinement is having on these animals, many are showing signs of severe physical and psychological distress.
‘Several of the mink and foxes have open, infected wounds and several foxes have grossly diseased eyes which will be extremely painful.
‘If this is the best the fur industry can offer animals, no wonder so many designers, retailers and now cities no longer want anything to do with it.’
In the UK fur farming has been banned since 2000 but Britain continues to import fur from a variety of species including foxes, rabbits, mink, coyotes, raccoon dogs and chinchillas. The charity wants Britain’s Environment Secretary Michael Gove to ‘stop his double standard’ and stop importing furs.
Each of the fur farms was certified by the fur industry as being ‘high welfare’, despite the harrowing pictures.
Since the UK’s ban took effect in 2003, they have imported nearly £700 million of fur, including £14 million worth from Finland.
Finnish farms are the biggest producers of fox fur in Europe where around 2.5 million foxes are reared and electrocuted every year for the global fur trade.
Other exporters include Italy, France, Poland, China and Russia where the conditions on fur farms are as bad or even worse.Ms Bass said: ‘Seeing first hand these animals mentally broken on fur farms and even driven to cannibalism has been utterly heart-breaking. In their tiny barren cages these animals have zero quality of life, they merely exist as shadows of the wild animals they should be.’
In July, the Environment Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Select Committee published a report on its inquiry into the UK fur trade, including recommending that the government holds a public consultation on banning the sale of animal fur in the UK.
Finland’s ProFur director of communications said earlier this year: ‘Fur industry is part of the Finnish bio-economy and circular economy.
‘It brings 400 – 500 million euros annual export incomes especially to rural areas. It is traditional, responsible and constantly developing. I want to be part of making fur industry more transparent to the general public.’
Policy issues always need time to discuss and modify. But as a consumer, do you support fur products after seeing heartbreaking pictures?
Kim Ngan Do
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